Blackberry officially announced its new Blackberry Passport smartphone on Wednesday morning. During the announcement, Blackberry joined other manufacturers by bashing the newly released iPhone’s. Blackberry CEO John Chen challenged the audience to try and bend the new Blackberry Passport, in lieu of the recent “Bend-gate” controversy regarding the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
As a phone, the Passport takes a slightly different form factor that what people are used to with smartphones. The squat size of the Passport has a good story behind it – it is the size of an actual passport, which Blackberry claims is the “the international symbol of mobility”. It has a touchscreen that is almost a square and 3 lines of physical keys. The awkward size will take some getting use to, since it is very different from the slimline styles of most of the latest flagship phones. It is also impossible for anyone to use it one-handed.
They physical keyboard is the star, as with all older Blackberries. It consists only of letters, backspace, return and the spacebar. All other functions appear on the screen. The keyboard is now touch sensitive and you can still flick up to autocomplete a word. However, the keyboard is much wider than previous Blackberry devices and the learning curve could prove to be a hinderance.
The Passport comes with Blackberry 10 and Blackberry Assistant which is like Siri, Google Now or Cortana and is capable of learning behavioural habits. Overall, the Blackberry Passport show a bold move from the company as it continues to rebuild its image in the smartphone race.